Laois TD Brian Stanley says Government cuts to council staff budgets prevented works that could have lessened flooding.
“In some local authorities, the number of outdoor staff has been slashed by up to 30%. This has had a serious debilitating effect on the capacity of councils to affect repairs and flood prevention measures such as basic maintenance work like clearing culverts. This is no criticism of the frontline staff who are at the pin of their collar these past few weeks, saving homes and properties,” he said.
The Sinn Féin environment spokesperson said that regulations should have been put aside to save homes.
“In Portarlington, Laois County Council wanted to carry out dredging work on the River Barrow to alleviate flooding in Spa Street and Botley Lane and were prevented from doing so by the Inland Fisheries. Where there is a risk of flooding to peoples homes, environmental regulations alone cannot be allowed to stop the necessary work,” he said.
He also urged the Government to declare an emergency and ask for assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund.